Wollongong to Sydney

the big smoke at last


Sunday dawned warm and calm and we decided to leave Jervis Bay. There were no big waves crashing up on the headlands and the forecast was for a pleasant day. We had to motor all the way though because of our damaged sails – we hadn’t had time to fix them.

Wollongong was 10 hours away and we arrived safely just on dark. The morning started with a glassy and very calm sea and Greg decided to try catching one of the fish we could see jumping all around us. We didn’t catch any of them. Score: fish 27 Greg 0

As the day wore on the sea breeze increased and by the time we arrived in Wollongong harbour we had quite sloppy seas and biggish swell but it wasn’t very cold. The next challenge was where to tie up in Belmore Basin? This is the fishing port in Wollongpng. We squeezed in behind a large fishing boat where there was one missing. It was only a temporary spot- all the spots here were very temporary for casual visitors. We moved 4 times in a week.

We were tourists in Wollongong. It was the biggest place we had been to in a couple of months. It is where I have fond memories of childhood holidays and it is the place where I was born.

We hired a car and drove to Moss Vale, a quaint village in the escarpment to see some places that were not near the sea. We stopped at Fitzroy Falls and explored the rainforest environment there on our return to the coast at Nowra and returned to Wollongong along the coast road past Kiama and Shell Harbour – some of the places we had seen from the water. Then we took the car north of the city to Stanwell Heights where hang gliders throw themselves off the cliffs and soar around the cliff faces at weekends.

Again we have caught up with family and enjoyed re-connecting with them.

The next leg of our journey will take us to Sydney itself . . . .

Port Hacking

Wollongong to Port Hacking was relatively uneventful, the weather was warm and quite calm out in the Tasman Sea. We arrived at Port Hacking late in the afternoon and looked for a courtesy mooring at Jibbon Beach. We saw our first turtle here too, very exciting. This must mean that the water was warming up at last . . .

We spent a peaceful night there and in the morning, before heading to Botany Bay, we explored Gunnamatta Bay.

Botany Bay

On arrival at Botany Bay we anchored just off Kurnell just as Captain Cook did over 200 years ago and went ashore to explore the environment. We took photos of the monuments and memorials that record that momentous event ( Cook's not ours) and had lunch before moving further down the bay to Woolaware Bay.

We anchored near some moored boats. Some were so new they still had their plastic wrapping on – straight out of the factory. Others were burnt out wrecks. It was interesting stay so close to Kingsford-Smith airport, the aircraft landing and taking off just over our mast top and we could see the distinctive city skyline in the distance. We only stayed one night here - we were too excited about getting to Sydney.

Sydney Harbour

We left Botany Bay early one morning in the first week of September. The first flights were just beginning to arrive and depart and the sun was rising over a very calm and glassy bay. It was almost beautiful in this industrialised area of one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Passing the end of the runway at the airport the flights were right over our heads – we felt like we needed to duck to miss them.

We logged on with Coastal Patrol Sydney at 6:30am as we headed out of the bay. A container freighter was arriving as we were leaving through the channel and we realised that the channel was not that wide. The ship was very close and very large but there was passing room. After we were clear of Cape La Perouse we put out the headsail to add to our stability and speed in the slight swell. There were a few sailing boats out on the ocean taking advantage of the great weather.

Motor-sailing up the coast in the first light of the day was very pleasant – it was warm and the sunlight was shining brightly on the coastal suburbs of the great city of Sydney.

First we passed Maroubra and then Coogee and Bondi where we could see early morning exercisers, and beach groomers doing their daily thing as we headed toward the mouth of Sydney Harbour. The huge Waverley Cemetery was like its own silent suburb hanging onto the cliff tops.

We could see North Head first and when we passed that as we entered Sydney Harbour we logged off with Coastal Patrol. It was about 8:30. and it was very exciting to be entering the harbour in our own boat.

Shortly afterwards we passed South Head and were actually in the harbour itself.

We were a bit anxious about the stories we had heard about fast ferries and other craft on the busy harbour so we furled the sail and lowered the dinghy so that we had clear visibility all around us.

We followed all the traffic down the west channel and oohed and aahed at the icons as they came into view – the bridge at first and then the Opera House. We could not believe the turbulence under the bridge and around Circular Quay as the ferries and cruise boats whizzed in and out.

We decided to head for Blackwattle Bay to anchor but on the way we just had to explore the environment of Darling Harbour.

We were in Sydney for the next 8 months